From a craft beer beach party to a winter wine fest, Virginia has no shortage of libation festivals to keep you jolly until the New Year. Virginia's long growing season and mild climate make it a top American wine producer, and its craft beer, hard cider and spirits have been pouring out of the state at greater volumes each year. Here’s a selection of the best festivals at which to sample some of Virginia’s finest craft beer, wine, hard cider and spirits this fall and winter.
Sept. 16, 2017
Cider-lovers rejoice! Get your fill of the delicious and tart beverage with deep roots in Virginia at its own festival. Sample the flavours from dozens of hard cideries, including local offerings from Blue Bee, Cobbler Mountain, Foggy Ridge and more, while listening to live music at the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. This event sells out, so grab tickets early.
Oct. 14-15, 2017
October is Virginia wine month, and festivals and events are taking place at wineries across the state. At the Virginia Wine Festival on Alexandria’s waterfront, guests have their pick of more than 200 wines to pair with the sumptuous flavours of Chesapeake Bay oysters, which are included in the ticket price of this festival. Once you’ve whet your palette with delicious bivalves, pay a visit to the the gourmet local food trucks on site to find your next food pairing.
October 21-22, 2017
Sample the unique flavours of more than 50 craft beers from more than 25 different breweries in an open air setting at the 31st Street Park adjacent to the beach. The festival runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., each day, features live entertainment and tickets include unlimited sampling and a souvenir glass.
November 2017 (see website link above for final dates)
Rare brews, Virginia spirits and artisanal food pairings? Yes, please! This expo held in Virginia’s capital includes more than 60 handpicked and unique craft brews plus state-made vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila and cider, to name a few, as well as top-notch cuisine from some of the area’s top chefs. Be sure to catch the “Taco Throwdown” event which pairs more than 12 artisan tacos with local libations.
Dec. 2, 2017
Raise a glass to winter at this second annual holiday celebration featuring music, dancing and, of course, wine. Tipple from more than 15 different area wineries or get a head start on your holiday shopping and buy a bottle — or five. Be sure to don your ugliest holiday sweat for the “Tacky Sweater” contest and wear your dancing shoes; a live DJ will spin upbeat tunes accompanied by a light show.
For more Virginia wine, beer, cider and spirits festivals, visit virginia.org.